Nov 1 2012 By Carl Gavaghan
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PUBLIC information sessions are being planned to help residents get their heads around the HS2 compensation packages.
And the message from anti-HS2 groups to homeowners is: “Keep your powder dry.”
Householders blighted by HS2 from the start have been able to use the long-term hardship scheme if they needed to move house, but the latest package from the Department for Transport (DfT) sets out compensation levels for homes in and close to the ‘safeguarding zone’ – the area either side of the rail corridor protected for HS2 works.
Campaigners in Hillingdon are urging people not to act in haste in replying to the documents, and promise to help people understand how they will be affected.
Keri Brennan, chairman of Hillingdon Against HS2, is meeting representatives of Hillingdon Council on Friday to go over the details.
She told the Gazette: “There is a lot of information for people to take in, and to be honest it is not very clear. I hope that after this meeting with the council we will be able to get our heads around it and then take that information back to the community. Hopefully we will be able to hold some public information days to allow people to come and ask questions.
“So I would say to people to hold off on replying to anything just yet; we have until the end of January to get our responses in. Let's not act to hastily. We must ensure our arguments are based on sound logic.”
The DfT says it is going ‘significantly beyond statutory requirements’ with its compensation measures, which include:
■ Providing a government commitment to buy any owner-occupied home in the safeguarded area closest to the route. As set out in law, the government will then pay the full un-blighted value of the property, along with additional compensation of 10 per cent, up to a value of £47,000;
■ Establishing a voluntary purchase zone immediately outside of the safeguarded area in rural areas, within which homeowners can sell their homes at their full un-blighted value;
■ A long-term hardship scheme to help those with a need to move during the development of HS2 but who are unable to sell their home.